Rosemary Mariner dies – pioneer pilot is honored with all-female flyover at funeral

The first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet has died aged 65. She was honored at her funeral with the first all-female flyover ever.

Rosemary Bryant Mariner lived in an age when there were restrictions on women in the United States Armed forces.

But despite the barriers, at just 21 years old Rosemary became the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in 1974.

The San Diego native also among the first women to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship in 1991, during the Gulf War and she became the first woman to command an aviation squadron.


At her funeral service a “missing man flyover” — a tribute honoring aviators who have died — that consisted of all women was planned, according to NBC News.

Her husband of nearly 39 years, ret. Navy Cmdr. Tommy Mariner, said: “It’s wonderful that the Navy can do that and it’s good that they have that many women where they can fill out all the cockpits with women. But that would not be a requirement for Rosemary.”

‘Badass pilot’

Facebook / Mark Hall

Katherine Sharp Landdeck, a historian of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, who was friends with Mariner, said she had influenced generations of people to channel the confidence within and find their path.

“She was a badass pilot, too. Landing on carriers? That’s pretty badass. You’re not just landing a jet. You’re landing a jet on a runway that’s rising up and down in the seas, and I think as a woman doing it, you’ve got everybody on deck watching.”

Mariner’s husband said, “She considered people — not men and women,” he said. “From a standpoint of getting the job done, and the way you’re treated in the world, she felt that people ought to be treated the same.”

‘You don’t quit’

Rosemary, who died of ovarian cancer, got her private pilot’s license at 17. Following this she got her aeronautics degree from Purdue University in 1972 when she was 19.

In her 2017 interview with the University of Tennessee, she emphasized the importance of never giving up on your goals.

“Life can deal you a lot of curveballs,” she said. “You hang in there and you don’t quit.”

Women’s Army Corps

What an incredible life she had. Thank you Captain Mariner for shattering that glass ceiling and proving women can be fearless and do bad ass things. RIP.

Please share to pay tribute to such a groundbreaking and inspirational woman.